Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wedding negotiations

The marriage talks have started in my house. How many people know of "Simple" indian weddings? I am not even referring to opulent ostentatious weddings here as the alternative, but talking about a simple, private marriage ceremony with just the immediate family, followed by reception where all friends and family are invited?

That's the kind of wedding I'd like to have, ideally.

One of the advices I got, was that the wedding is the parents' prerogative, and if they want to go and spend all their hard-earned money on booking a hall, having day(s)-long ceremonies, feed the guests, put up out-of-towners, then you should just simply defer and let them do it.

It just doesn't sit right with me. There's money being wasted that could be put to much better use, to either charity or even the newly-weds embarking on their new life together. For foreseeable and unforseen medical expenses that will crop up. And, there's perpetuating this ideology that marriages are supposed to drain you of your finances just to put up a good show. And finally there's all the complications that come with it. Gifting, jewelry, clothes. Gosh. The very thought makes me tired. My parents don't have spare money sitting around, B and I are in low-paying careers as it is and make very little, save even lesser. Yet, my parents (mainly my mom) will not agree to a simple, practical, no-frills marriage.

At the same time, I have realised how hard it is to argue with my parents about these things. I guess it's difficult for the parents/grandparents to come to terms with the fact that the bride and groom are 31-year olds with an opinion of their own as against the old times when they just took charge and the bride and groom went along, not knowing any better or not caring.

Sometimes I think a quiet registered marriage in the county courthouse would've been the best way to go.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow - my exact sentiments tgfi!
All the grand wedding expenses with all the gold and saris exchanged seems a huge waste to me. I really wish my parents would now spend on themselves, than saving up for my marriage.
Yes, I am also poor grad student, but am at least financially independent, and would like to remain so for the marriage as well!
Aah, the (non)practical dreams.

Badri said...

I too agree. I ideally wish it was in a temple..cheap, decent and auspicious.

Anonymous said...

Few months back, I attended a reception. That was of my friend's wife's sister's... long linkage. In short, I was there to be with my friend (he and his wife) who was visiting from US but they were busy hosting the guests.

Poor me (i am single) was doing some mental calculations... (1) what the expenses look like when you get married? (2) Why such a grand thing and at what cost (maybe parent's retirement kitty)? (3) How should one account for the show off cost? (4) If you could ask every guest to leave the gold/diamond/platinum and all the metals they are wearing, how fast can you reach your retirement or how many hours of less work you have to do in this corporate rat race?

~shree
(btw i randomly landed on your blog... good luck in whatever you do)

Hiperman said...

i'm trying to see it as a time when i can meet all my old college friends together at one place. maybe it's more easier to convince all of them (who live in different countries) to come down to hyd on one day if it's a wedding as opposed to a post register-marriage party?

Ni said...

I like your wedding plan. a simple ceremony followed by a reception.

You know my father would always tell us, I ll spend all my earnings on you but not my savings. and I admire him for that, there is always pressure on parents in India and it is ridiculous.

and Oh the court marriage is bad bad idea. You will never hear the end of it, specially from your mom I guess.
:D

sqrlnt said...

as some wise person told me, your first birthday and your first wedding are not really for you, but for your parents..If you are the first of your siblings, that's especially true. I suggested a small registered marriage to my dad, who in his usual style threatened to disown me.. his logic was, they've lived in the city for so long and has been to so many weddings it would be wrong not to invite all those people. I thought 'oh well' and gave in. In the end, oddly, I was really glad I had that wedding. My parents had never, EVER bought me a birthday present my entire life. I guess this one made up for it..

Varsh said...

I dont think it really matters if its our first birthday or the first marriage in our family, for our parents in both cases we're brainless. No matter how much we try to cajole or coax them, they wont take NO for an answer! In my own wedding so much of money was wasted on celebrations, it really made me cry. It could've been put to much better use now, had we saved it. Anyway..
We need to give in to their demands eventually,so why fight it? And while you're at it,make the most of it! Get pampered and enjoy yourself!

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

@ all
thanks for sharing your thoughts..i'm glad to know so many share the sentiments, but it still can rarely be put into practice. tired of discussing this with my parents already. :/

Born a Libran said...

I have held my parents on ransom... Simply saying that if I get married, it will be a registered marriage has worked so far... But who knows what will happen when it actually pans out... So, date fixed?

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

libran
no no date yet..just discussion...

yeah the thing is i didn't want a regd marriage myself- i guess the problem is when u want a little bit of both...sigh..

La vida Loca said...

I had a really small wedding :-)
And loved it. Although if things had gone as originally planned, thry it may have been the days long thing.

shub said...

Been there, tried that, literally got laughed at. Plus here it was last daughter/only son case. So.

I do know a friend (telugu + US - do we see a pattern here? :P) who succeeded in a temple wedding after God knows how much argument/negotiation.
Good luck, I really hope they agree :)

Kits said...

Good luck with the negotiations. Hope it all goes well

Anonymous said...

I know firsthand how hard it is to convince parents for a simple wedding, in my case I was the last, some reason. But I was successful in convincing them, took months. It was a bit of a compromise. I agreed to their style only if I were to spend. So they scaled back and I saved given the time we had between introducing my boy friend to my parents, making them agree and finalising the wedding plans. But it hurt my Dad deeply because he felt he failed his duty as a Dad since I didn't let him spend his money for my wedding. He was the sweetest.

Good luck with the arguments and Congratulations.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

anony @ 2:05, good for you! yeah that is another thing i cannot get- my dad keeps saying "it is my duty". GOSH. If someone as educated and forward thinking as him talks like that..it makes me sad.

justme said...

Couldn't agree more. You mirror my thoughts!

Anonymous said...

May be you misunderstood the advice that was given to you.

From my experience, the wedding ceremony is a very stressful time. It doesn't have to be for anyone with a sane mind, but it is. I could never fathom why.

While sticking to your principles is very important and voicing your opinion your right, the conversations /discussions /arguments only leave all parties involved stressed unhappy and miserable. If you can convince or reach a place where all parties involved are in a good place, you would be in an ideal world. But if it involves countless argument and bad tempers, what is it that you want to make this event in your life to be?

I think the "giving in" was directed at minimizing the unpleasantness. With your parents. They really do matter the most at this point. You have been their baby until now and now they have to let go. I think it is a difficult transition.

What may be a practical economic decision for you, might be a very emotional parental decision for your folks.

Just remember your life is going to change forever.Everyone except you can see that. Make this a happy memory for yourself. It is in your hands.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

anony @ 4:05,
I am not sure why you say i misunderstood the advice i got- your advice here pretty much mirrors my thought process, and to some extent the advice i got too, so i don't know what it is i misunderstood? may be you misunderstood this post.

I think the "giving in" was directed at minimizing the unpleasantness. With your parents

I think so too! :) and i'm pretty sure that's what my friend meant too!

of course nobody wants unpleasantness with parents, and everyone has different opinions, expectations, convictions, of course its not an ideal world

However arriving at a compromise, or even a "Giving in" is not without going through motions of questioning, wondering, ranting, :) - hence one goes through such mental debates and conflicts (And may be blogs about them :) ) Luckily for me, I manage to sort out my disagreements with my parents quite amicably and respectfully, so nastiness is not an issue at all where they are concerned.

But yeah, most of whatever you said is very true, and like I said, very much echoes my thoughts..

Yamini said...

If you really believe in it, fight for it. 13 years ago, my now-husband-then-boyfriend and I did. Initially, his parents were upset (he is the eldest son, this was the first wedding in the family etc etc), refusing to attend the wedding; my mom was upset but was more willing to let it be (she probably was just relieved that I was eventually getting married).

We argued, discussed and stood our ground, eventually convincing them of the futility of spending money on a ceremony that neither of us believed in. We had a registered marriage, cost us all of Rs. 12 and another couple of thousands to throw a party for close family and friends. I didn't even get a new dress for the "wedding", just one for the party.

Over the years, our fight inspired a few others to follow our path. And even today, a lot of people (friends and relatives) come back and tell us we did the right thing.

And we have the satisfaction that we did what we actually believed in.

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The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

@ anony (dec 25)
where is your blog?